Senior corporate communications/business double major Lindsey Barchent recently returned home from a summer-long internship in Washington, D.C. working with Student Veterans of America (SVA). Barchent served as a communications and marketing specialist to aid in the recent passage of the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017, more commonly referred to as the Forever GI Bill. Barchent worked to create and publish social media posts about the bill as well as attended, photographed and live-tweeted hearings on the Hill, and, in her words, “provided any other support I could” to pass the bill through Congress.
The “Forever GI Bill” was designed to provide more opportunities for members of the military to pursue a post-secondary degree. Specifically, the bill calls for extended benefits for STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) majors on a five-year track as well as expanded benefits to all Purple Heart Recipients, survivors of fallen veterans and National Guard and Reserve members not included in the current bill. The bill will also be protected from Congressional budget cuts, among many other provisions. The bill recently passed through the House 405-0 and unanimously in the Senate, and was signed by the president on Aug. 16. “Everyone at SVA worked extremely hard to get the Forever GI Bill passed – they led a coalition of over 40 veteran organizations to pass this bill, and I am very grateful to have played even a small part in it,” said Barchent.
According to Barchent, Student Veterans of America is a nonprofit organization that “provides military veterans with the resources, support and advocacy needed to succeed to, through and beyond higher education,” through research, advocacy, policy proposals and regulations and programming for over 1,300 chapters at schools across the country. Belmont’s chapter is called Bruin Vets and offers various resources, programming and support for student veterans.
Barchent completed her internship through Belmont USA with the Washington Internship Institute. Belmont USA allows students to continue coursework away from Belmont’s campus with programs in New York, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Oregon and Hollywood. The program is coordinated by the Office of Interdisciplinary Studies and Global Education. For Barchent, SVA was an eye-opening experience as she embarks on her senior year at Belmont. “I am immensely grateful to have had the opportunity to intern at SVA and learn from such outstanding individuals. Everyone who works there exemplifies what it means to be a servant leader, and it was an incredible honor to learn from them.”
Follow this link to learn more about Student Veterans of America or the Forever GI Bill.
For more information about Belmont USA, click here.